Officials are checking whether an animal shot and killed last month in southeastern Missouri is a wolf.
Wolves are a protected species in Missouri, and the state Department of Conservation says DNA testing will be used to determine whether it is a gray wolf, coyote or other canine species. A landowner in Wayne County contacted the agency after shooting the animal in late November.
Conservation officials say wolves appear similar to coyotes but are much larger. Coyotes generally do not weigh more than 30 pounds in Missouri and can be hunted throughout the year.
The agency says there is no known wolf breeding population in Missouri, although hunters have occasionally shot wolves in the past decade after mistaking them for coyotes.